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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on June 3rd, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 14

Santa Maria City Council approves local emergency orders

By Malea Martin

Santa Maria City Council approved a resolution Tuesday confirming local emergency orders and actions of the city’s director of emergency services regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 


RAPIDLY CHANGING
Councilmember Gloria Soto emphasized that the City Council will continuously read and review local emergency orders at its meetings to keep up with “things changing so rapidly.”
PHOTO BY MALEA MARTIN

These included an order “prohibiting temporary flower stand sales,” as well as one “permitting temporary modifications to retail and restaurant operation and authorizing the Public Works Director to temporarily close streets or parking spaces within the Downtown Specific Plan area in order to facilitate temporary dining areas for the use of abutting restaurants,” according to the agenda for the June 2 meeting.

Before the City Council meeting, Councilmember Gloria Soto gave the Sun the reason behind the order pertaining to temporary flower stands.

“This particular order, if I’m not mistaken, was put in place around Mother’s Day because there was a lot of concern about people not following social distancing,” she said. “So that’s how this order was actually added on here.”

But with Mother’s Day now passed and new reopening guidelines in place, Soto said she was looking forward to the council having a chance to discuss local orders in the context of the current, rapidly changing situation at their meeting.

“My priority is maintaining public health in our community and if the experts are telling me that this is their recommendation on how to do so then I’m going to listen intently at their recommendations,” Soto said. “I think that at tomorrow’s meeting, given that things are changing so rapidly with reopening guidelines, I’m going to have a lot of questions about what that means for the residents of Santa Maria.”

During the meeting, Soto asked that the local emergency order resolution be pulled from the consent calendar and voted on separately. She asked for clarification on whether flower stands at farmers’ markets would be included in the proposed prohibition. City Attorney Thomas Watson clarified that those stands would be allowed to continue operating because they’re considered a “farm product.”

The other part of the resolution that the council looked at Tuesday addressed temporary modifications to retail and restaurant operations. Santa Maria announced on May 22 that the city would allow retail businesses and restaurants to designate non-ADA parking stalls as assigned parking areas for merchandise or food pick-up, or for delivery services, and that restaurants can use their parking lot to establish outdoor dining areas. 

City Manager Jason Stilwell explained at the meeting that the city adds local emergency orders like these as needed in order “to respond quickly to our local emergency.” 

“We bring them to the city council monthly for council’s consideration and ratification,” he said. 








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